Lunch break back, bid size widened at SGX

The SGX Centre 1.

SINGAPORE - The lunch break is back at the Singapore Exchange (SGX), six years after it was scrapped amid much vexation. The bourse operator yesterday said from Nov 13, the stock market will take a break from noon to 1pm.

With this new break time, trading will resume at around the same time as key markets like Hong Kong.

Before the break was scrapped in 2011, trading halted between 12.30pm and 2pm. The break was scrapped in a bid to liven up the market and raise trading volumes.

But traders and remisiers have complained that while the move took away their much-needed midday rest, it has not raised trading volumes very much.

The SGX yesterday also said it will be widening bid spreads for certain stocks. The minimum bid size for relevant securities in the $1.00 to $1.99 price range will be increased to one cent from the current 0.5 cent.

This means buyers will have to make bids at intervals of one cent instead of half a cent. So a $1 stock which would previously have required two bids to move up to $1.01 will now need only one bid to do so.

Remisier Desmond Leong said this would help stocks within this price range to move up and down faster, which could help draw more day traders, who look for quick profits from short-term trades.

"It looks like the SGX wants to draw more interest to stocks within this price range, which have low trading volumes," he said.

The SGX also said the forced order range for relevant securities will be widened further. The forced order range is the threshold at which trades trigger an "error trade" warning. This prevents error trades when order prices are keyed in. Orders placed at prices out of the range must be confirmed with a forced key function.

Currently, a trade that is 20 ticks outside of the range in either direction triggers such a warning. This will be widened to 30 ticks. In 2011, the range had been widened from 10 to 20 ticks in either direction.

"The adjustments are aimed at addressing market conditions while balancing the diverse objectives and interests of different segments of participants in the market ecosystem," the SGX said in a statement.

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2017, with the headline 'Lunch break back, bid size widened at SGX'. Print Edition | Subscribe